Ashforth’s Angles: Pricey Parlance makes debut

INTEGRAL

Integral (left): has carried the Cheveley Park colours with distinction

  PICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos)  

A big day today; it’s the Class 5 Toteplacepot EBF Stallions Maiden Fillies’ Stakes at Nottingham (2.00).

It may not be big to you but it’s big for the Hallam Meat Company because Parlance is running in the familiar colours of its subsidiary, Cheveley Park Stud.

It’s probably best not to tell the horses about the parent company, even though it deals in arable crops.

Parlance is Cheveley Park Stud’s first two-year-old to run this year and an important one because she cost 450,000 guineas as a yearling.

Most of Cheveley Park’s runners are home bred and in the last ten years David and Patricia Thompson, owners of the Hallam Meat Company and of the Stud, have only once paid more at the sales.

That was in 2012, when they paid 535,000 guineas for Criteria. In 14 outings, she won only once, a Class 5 maiden at Kempton but finished third in both the Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes and Group 2 Park Hill Stakes.

The Thompsons, David now 80 and Patricia 76, will be hoping that Parlance goes on to great things, especially after a disappointing 2015 during which Cheveley Park’s biggest success was when Solar Magic won a Listed race at Newmarket.

Breeding and racing horses is an uncertain and volatile business. Cheveley Park’s results for 2014-15 are not available yet but during the year ended August 31 2014 the Stud reported a pre-tax loss of £3.8 million, following a loss of £2.9 million the previous year.

Racing activities accounted for £2.8 million of the £3.8 million loss with the balance ascribed to the stud farm. After a revaluation, the Stud’s bloodstock was stated at £40 million.

Keeping horses in training is expensive. Sir Michael Stoute is one of Cheveley Park Stud’s directors and its main trainer. In 2013-14 Cheveley Park paid Sir Michael Stoute Limited £588,751 in training fees, similar to the previous year.

In 2014 Stoute raced 18 of Cheveley Park’s horses a total of 78 times, winning 14 races and, thanks largely to the dual Group One winner Integral, £551,038 in prize money.

Last year Stoute ran 15 of Cheveley Park’s horses a total of 48 times, winning nine races and £64,463 in win prize money.

The directors expect the company to be successful again in the future as it has been in the past. During a difficult six years from 2009 to 2014 Cheveley Park reported a cumulative pre-tax loss of over £11 million but during the previous pre-recession four years it registered profits totalling over £18 million.

If sales prices were a reliable guide to race results (they’re not) Parlance would win today’s sprint effortlessly, by over £300,000 from Reeh and a massive 442,000 guineas from Alice’s Dream, who cost just 8,000 guineas.

Cheveley Park’s team, headed by Chris Richardson, will have studied Parlance’s pedigree intensively with the hope that she will eventually graduate into a valuable broodmare. Racing is full of overpriced horses. Parlance doesn’t have to win today but tomorrow, or the season after ….

 

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